Villa Preview: Reading clash an early test for Steve Bruce as Xia silence deafens.

madejski stadium

READING PREVIEW

It’s still very early in the season, but already there are questions being asked of Steve Bruce.

Whilst the discussion about sacking the manager is certainly premature, anything less than an improved performance with 3 points could see discontent grow.

It’s an impressive feat to be haemorrhaging supporter confidence, barely 3 games into a campaign.

However, Bruce now has the opportunity to change the narrative back to one of positivity and promotion.

Problems

Villa’s problems have stemmed from an indifferent pre-season, petering out after leading against Hull & an absolute hammering away to Cardiff.

The issues?  They’re well documented, but Bruce has so far failed to instil a winning mentality, style of play or settled 11 since his appointment.

It’s nothing new, but the realisation is dawning that the unthinkable can and will happen if left unchecked.

A win at Reading is important, not only to steady the ship, but to lay the foundations for what has to be a promotion campaign.

Anything less simply isn’t acceptable.

It’s unacceptable given the investment, unacceptable given the financial fair play implications and unacceptable because we cannot contemplate another change of regime.

Bruce has to find the winning way for Aston Villa; now.

Only then can he address the challenge of making victories the norm, week on week.

For the time being we go a game at a time, but the silence of the ordinarily vocal Dr Tony is deafening.

Xia proved a ruthless character with Di Matteo, and has stated his ambitions clearly.

Ultimately, Bruce’s future remains firmly in his own hands.  But, any failure to deliver a marked improvement, quickly, whether anyone likes it or not, leads to only one outcome.  Few would welcome the prospect of more defeats, Championship football or a change at the top.

The obvious way to avoid this is getting back to basics, deploying our signings to their strengths and going out to to win at the Madejski this evening.

KEY FACTS

  • Villa looking for first league win of the season.
  • Reading yet to taste victory this term. (1L 1D)
  • Reading were last seasons playoff losers.
  • Leandro Bacuna set to feature for hosts following transfer from Villa.  The script writes itself…
  • Ahmed Elmohamady set to undergo surgery and misses out.
  • Kodjia still not match fit following broken ankle.
  • Jedinak at least away from fitness following groin surgery.
  • Andre Green is a doubt but may have a late fitness test.
  • 5 of last 6 meetings won by the away team in this fixture.
  • Villa have won on last 4 visits to the Madejski Stadium.
  • Villa have won 10 of last 12 clashes with Reading.
  • Just 3 clean sheets in last 20 away from Villa Park.
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